Tao of Disc Dog | Intent, Purpose, and Satori

Intent is not the same as trying. It’s about doing and purpose. Intent is purposeful doing and purposeful doing as a habit changes everything.

Tricks, drills, and skills have various purposes. Handlers must approach those skills with proper intent in order to capitalize on the various purposes of tricks, drills, and skills.

A zig zag can be thrown for competition. A zig zag can be thrown for reinforcement of the cued Drop. A zig zag can be thrown to speed a dog up, shorten an outrun, slow a dog down. A zig zag can be thrown for Big Leaping or leap training. All that need change is the handler’s intent.


If you have never thrown a zig zag with the intent to make your dog leap, and leap well, go out and do it now. Seriously, put the book down and do it if possible. We’ll wait…

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The change in a zig zag when trying to make the dog leap is pretty amazing. The pattern changes. The communication between dog and handler changes. Your ability to place targets changes. The whole thing turns into some kind of living creature for a bit. Such is the Way of Purpose.

The handler gets what they intend, the end. If you go out to not make mistakes and hit all your hard tricks? Great, your purpose was to be mediocre. You’ll get 80% on both, like usual, and have nothing to show for it.

Shifting your intent. “I’m gonna showcase my dog.” “I’m gonna smash these 5 tricks.” “This round is about flow.” Even,”This round is about Catching.” Not mediocre, totally achievable, and filled with purpose; intent matters.

You can and will do those things and you will get better at them in the future. Intent is a key to finding the way of things.

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Hitting Satori, or the Zone, while focusing on Intent or Playing with Purpose is quite hard, but not impossible. While you are not likely to have the performance of your life kind of Zone feeling, it is possible to really groove in the Zone within your Purpose driven play or while playing with Intent. It’s just a slightly different perspective.

Intending to hit the Zone is probably a disaster in the making; it screams at trying or is the hidden way of the master. And if you truly think you can intend to do it with a dog at will, you’re probably not the master.

Dog Training in Western Michigan
Excerpt from the Tao of Disc Dog
By Ron Watson
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